If you've googled anything related to ecommerce lately, for sure, you've come across the name ‘Shopify.'
And if you're new to ecommerce and dropshipping, in particular, you may be wondering why Shopify seems to be so popular.
It ranks highly when compared to other big names in ecommerce like WooCommerce, Bigcommerce, Opencart, and Magento, to name just a few.
But what makes it stand out amongst the crowded internet space, and why would you choose it over other platforms out there?
Is its popularity due to a ‘follow-the-crowd” kind of situation, or does it really have meat on the bone to satisfy hungry online retailers looking for profits?
Is Shopify good?
What makes Shopify so unique and so popular?
The only way to know is to dig deep into what characteristics make an ecommerce platform a real asset to online marketers in pursuit of their business dreams.
There are many such characteristics but let's highlight the ones that are core to making any platform a relevant and popular choice today.
But first, let's start with an important question; what is Shopify?
What is Shopify?
Shopify is first and foremost a fast-growing, global, cloud-based, standalone ecommerce platform.
It's a from-the-ground-up website builder software that provides you with a suite of services all in one place to sell online, on social media, and in brick and mortar locations.
Sounds amazing already, right?
Shopify grew from the ground up.
It was hatched into creation in 2006 after a frustrated young programmer couldn't find a user-friendly, affordable, and functional software to launch their snowboard business.
There's nothing like a frustrated consumer/programmer/software developer to know what to build into a successful online merchant solution.
Shopify is a success story!
Not just for the CEO and his co-founder, but for millions of eager entrepreneurs like you looking for their own brand of online success.
Shopify simplified and streamlined the process of online business building to the point where they declare that “Anyone, anywhere, can start a business.”
If you're unsure if Shopify is the best ecommerce platform for you, take our quiz here to get a personalized recommendation based on your needs:
How do we know Shopify is popular?
Let's start with a general statement of fact: Ecommerce is big business!
Global ecommerce sales soared to $5 trillion this year, with growth projections of $6.5 trillion by 2023.
Global pandemic aside, ecommerce is here to stay, and according to Forbes, “the influence of ecommerce will be far greater moving forward than it has ever been before.”
Shopify's little piece of that ecommerce pie equals 988.6 million USD in revenue in the first quarter of this year alone. And there are millions of Shopify store owners who can attest to how popular it is with them!
It's certainly a player amongst the big boys of ecommerce.
Shopify is the third-largest retailer behind Amazon and eBay. And their premium product, Shopify Plus, is used by well-known big corporations like Pepsi, Heinz, and Tesla (and even celebrities like Lady Gaga).
Overall, it's judged to be one of the top ten ecommerce platforms by most critics and considered the best overall for dropshipping by others.
While there are many really good platforms out there, the search term “Shopify” trends higher than the other guys like Bigcommerce or WooCommerce on Google Trends:
Stock market investors like Shopify, too, especially those who bought Shopify (SHOP) shares at $20 US apiece in 2016 now worth over $1260 US and projected to jump to over $6000 US in 2026!
But is Shopify worth it?
Shopify is better than any other platform and we've played with them all.Jonathon Bayme, CEO of Theory11
So let's find out why by going through the seven reasons why Shopify become so popular:
7 reasons why Shopify became so popular
Just seven, you say?
Yes, there are many more reasons than can be fit into one article, so let's start with the ones most novice online entrepreneurs are likely to rate as the most important to them.
1. Easy for beginners
Is Shopify really that easy?
By their own definition and Mission Statement, Shopify is an ecommerce solution for “everyone” so how can it not be easy and popular?
Making commerce better for everyone.
We help people achieve independence by making it easier to start, run and grow a business. We believe the future of e-commerce has more voices, so we're reducing the barriers to business ownership to make commerce better for everyone.Shopify
It's perfect for beginners! Why?
Once you've signed up for the free trial, you are prepped in every way possible before making your online store a reality with access to checklists, tutorials, and courses to guide, open, and promote your store.
The interface is intuitive anyway, and the drag and drop method of store building allows you to set up your store “in minutes” with no technical skills at all.
And once you complete your setup, perhaps feeling a bit unsure that it's done correctly, use their “Test your online store” checklist to feel good about your store set up before going live.
While it is easy to set up a Shopify store, it's important to know that running and managing a store is a learning curve. There is a lot more to learn, like marketing, to make your store visible to the online world.
But it's good to know that Shopify has a multitude of helpful resources to help you along the way.
The one thing you won't have to set up, learn, manage, and pay for is web hosting – which can be a barrier for some online entrepreneurs who are not sure which kind of host they should pick.
Remember? Shopify is for everyone, so Shopify hosting makes it possible for you to use your time more wisely to grow your business worry-free.
Beginner and user-friendly all around.
2. Affordability, value, and scalability
Is Shopify expensive?
With most online merchants new to ecommerce choosing the Basic Plan at $39 per month, Shopify is very affordable.
However, some online reviewers say Shopify is expensive in comparison with other platforms.
But how much have you saved if you purchased an ecommerce platform for less, but it lacks the features (like hosting) most vital to drive your business?
Sometimes it's not just about the money. It's about value and scalability. Let me explain:
When your little start-up business grows bigger (because you will make it grow, right?), will your cheaper platform be able to accommodate that growth?
Check closely because not all platforms have scalability. Shopify, however, has plans to accommodate every business owner at every stage of their success – from Lite to Plus.
Good to know: You can get a 10% discount paying for a full year; 20% if you pay for two years.
And if you want value, how does free sound?
Everyone likes getting something for free!
We've already mentioned free hosting, which we know saves you money and valuable time.
But how about a free Shopify trial?
Their no-barrier approach to diving into ecommerce means you only need to give them your name and email. No credit card information is required until you're ready to choose your subscription.
Shopify isn't alone now in offering a free trial, of course, which may be the reason they innovate and offer other freebies as well.
Keep your eye out for occasional time-limited contests where you can win your annual subscription, free mentoring, YouTube marketing, and Shopify swag.
Other freebies include:
- Free (and paid) store themes
- Free business and domain name generator
- Free (and paid) third-party apps
- Free stock photos
- Free tools like Logo Maker
- Free Slogan Maker
- Free video creator
- …and a lot more.
According to ‘Get App,' some ecommerce store features are more popular with online merchants than others. (I would include Drag & Drop, by the way).
And guess what?
Shopify has ALL of them, including Drag & Drop.
3. Merchant support
Even if you have the most amazing ecommerce software, Shopify store owners are bound to have problems that need to be fixed. And if you are that store owner, you need your problem resolved right NOW because your business depends on it.
From Shopify, you can expect a motherlode of 24/7 support through phone, email, or chat.
Even Shopify customers can find support if they have a problem with a product purchased in Shopify stores.
Free Shopify support is great, but what if you're looking for more in-depth assistance?
Check out their Expert Marketplace. These highly trained third-party experts can help with everything from the store setup to development and trouble-shooting to visual content and branding.
And to stay on top of software updates, site changes, and improvements, you have a resource for that too in the Shopify Changelog.
Add in their tutorials, webinars, and business courses, and you've got even more reason to believe support is a significant reason why Shopify is so popular.
4. Speed and security
Speed is essential if you want to keep the customers you worked so hard to get.
Think about how many times you left an item in a shopping cart because a website's payment process was too slow, and you'll understand why fast page loading is important.
For example, download this free Booster Page Speed Optimizer app to help pages load faster to avoid shopping cart abandonment issues and test page loading speed.
We all know security is a big deal in the online world, and Shopify takes it very seriously, even employing ethical hackers to find and fix system vulnerabilities.
At the heart of Shopify's highly secure SAAS platform, though, is the Shared Responsibility Model, which outlines security responsibilities for both them and their merchants.
While merchants are responsible for their store's data and security, Shopify takes on the management of the software and global infrastructure security.
Customer security is important too. Because Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI DSS Compliant, it also meets the standard for the secure handling of debit and credit card information of your customers.
Related article: Shopify Store Backups: The Definitive Guide (2023)
5. Marketing tools and SEO
Setting up an online store is one thing.
But how to actively manage a successful online business is another. Many may start up their business without fully understanding this aspect of ecommerce.
But Shopify simplifies the process as much as possible for beginners.
Again, ecommerce for everyone!
Marketing and SEO are essential components to your store's success, and Shopify has the tools to help get you there.
With your free trial, Shopify provides you with an extensive library of expert articles, tutorials, and courses to help you understand these topics to achieve a high ranking on Google and get your products in front of a targeted audience.
With their 3 Step Guide to Marketing, they'll give guidance on a multitude of topics within an easy to understand framework of:
Watch your store grow as you capture an increasing number of email subscribers and improve email campaigns, and how to optimize your product pages and leverage user-generated content.
Like everything else with Shopify, you can count on expert step-by-step guidance on this critical topic.
And now that Google has partnered with Shopify to help merchants get more visibility online, not only will it make Shopify more popular, it will help your store become more popular too!
6. Mobile friendly
Okay. You need to get off your phone to read this. Kidding!
But because some sources report that the average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their phone, it was a pretty good guess that you were using your phone.
And while most of us know ecommerce, in general, is becoming more popular for consumers than brick-and-mortar stores, did you know that mobile ecommerce (or ‘mcommerce' as it's called) is predicted to represent more than 50% of all ecommerce sales in 2021?
That means mobile customers will be responsible for about half of the US ecommerce market alone is estimated to be worth 845 billion USD by 2022!
Yes, mcommerce is a growing trend.
With free mobile features built into your Shopify store, you can be on top of that trend, with full integration, full ecommerce functionality, and security with Shopify's hosting.
All Shopify plans include a free built-in mobile shopping cart so customers can shop from anywhere and your store pages will look just as great on a smartphone as it does on a computer monitor.
That's because every Shopify theme, free and premium, comes with a free mobile commerce checkout capability, but it also offers more pricey apps when you're ready to scale up your store.
Related article: Check out this list of the best one-product Shopify themes!
7. Great for dropshipping
Shopify is a dropshippers best friend.
It's almost always the platform people think of when researching dropshipping, and Shopify gets high ratings from many online reviewers for its dropshipping savvy.
The dropshipping business model attracts ecommerce newbies for the same reason they find Shopify popular. The low cost and simplicity.
Merchants' costs are kept to a minimum since they're not required to buy and pay for products upfront. No inventory, less risk. (Although there are still a few risks to consider)
But another reason for its success in dropshipping is the integration with many dropshipping apps.
And because you now know Shopify has such great support, read their blog, register for a free webinar, or watch their free dropshipping course here to learn how to start and grow your dropshipping store.
And don't forget our blog; Do Dropshipping!
For example, check out our complete Shopify dropshipping guide here, which will guide you with setting up your store step-by-step.
So back to our questions.
Why is Shopify so popular? Is Shopify good for small businesses? Is its popularity just hype, or is it a real heavyweight contender?
Shopify has so many pluses with an easy-to-use platform, affordability, good value and scalability, top-notch speed and security, excellent customer support, mobile optimization, and a focus on dropshipping.
It caters to so many entrepreneurs, has so many merchants, is so successful and profitable and on-trend with all things ecommerce …phew … it's hard to see it as anything other than a heavyweight in the ecommerce world.
It's comparable with all the competition and seems to innovate (as it has done recently with Google Graphs) as all good companies do.
This is not to say it has its faults. For instance, many complain about their transaction fees which can take a good chunk out of your margins.
All in all, call it hype if you want, but I think Shopify deserves its popularity and will continue to stand among the best in ecommerce for years to come.
But it's what you think that's important.
Don't follow the crowd. Instead, compare with other platforms and choose the one that suits you best.